Home Page . Services / Contact Information . Parenting Articles . Separation/Divorce Articles . Video Clips . Links




A strength-guided, goal-oriented approach to the positive growth and 

development of people and services.


Back to Advice Articles


Daughter First, Boyfriend Second




My boyfriend and I have been dating for 6 months now and we are talking moving in together. Trouble is, my 6 year old daughter from my prior marriage really hasn't taken to my boyfriend. This upsets my boyfriend and he is telling me we should just go ahead and move in together because we are in charge, not my daughter. Who do I listen to?


What you haven't stated in your question is how long you have been separated from your first husband or who initiated the separation or the quality of relationship you had with your former husband. All these issues play into how your daughter is adjusting and how she feels about your new boyfriend.

Please note, it can take children several years to adjust to their parents' separation. During their adjustment, they often harbour fantasies of their parents re-uniting. The introduction of a new lover too soon can spell tremendous upset for the child still determined to see their parents get back together. Hence rushing the relationship with the new lover can seriously backfire and your child may never take to this person and the ensuing conflict can rip apart all these relationships.

Further and in view of the information you do provide, it sounds like your boyfriend may be concentrating more on his needs and wants for a relationship with you than he shows concern for the emotional well being of your daughter. Quite frankly it seems you have been put into a position where you have to choose between him and your daughter. This is controlling and emotionally abusive. You shouldn't have to choose between your boyfriend and your daughter. It should be a given that the needs and emotional well-being of your daughter come first. If your boyfriend cannot see this, you should seriously reconsider any relationship with him, let alone living together at this time.


Email this article to a friend or colleague.
Enter recipient's e-mail:


Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847  


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a Section 112 (social work) report.


Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.


Buy the book:

For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.


Are you the parent of new teen driver?  Check out this teen safe driving program: www.ipromiseprogram.com


20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com